Every salon/spa suffers from some degree of indifference. Without question, it is the single most toxic behavior that that infects company cultures and performance.
It can be as subtle as someone saying, “Why should I do that?” or, “That’s not my job – I’m not paid to do that.”
Indifference can be as blatant as people collectively refusing to follow new procedures or systems and sounds like, “If they’re not doing it, why should I?”
- No matter how you view it, indifference is a toxic behavior that can spread rapidly throughout a service business like yours.
If you agree with the statement, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” then you can understand that even the slightest imperfection can result in catastrophic failure.
Under intense loads, the “integrity” of every chain link is tested. Just one flaw, just one microscopic crack, and ships run aground, their cargo is damaged — and lives are lost.
In a salon/spa business, every employee is a link in your company’s ability to consistently deliver its promise of technical and customer service excellence.
- We trust that every “link” will do its job and perform to expectations.
I used two powerful words to describe the expectations of a chain: integrity and trust.
If the integrity of one link is compromised, we cannot trust that the chain will hold.
If the integrity of multiple links is compromised, it’s unlikely that the chain will ever perform to its full potential. Simply put, the chain cannot be trusted.
The chain may appear perfectly fine, but the flaws and imperfections are there.
In business, teams of people represent the chain. However, the likelihood of weak links existing in salons and spas is far greater than that of a chain. Infinitely greater.
- Proper formulation of the metals and manufacturing procedures can produce a near flawless chain.
- In business, it’s the leader that assembles, prepares, nurtures, guides and inspires a near flawless team.
Here are four No-Compromise Leadership strategies to prevent indifference from creating weak links in your salon/spa culture:
- Holding on to the weakest link far too long: This scenario is all too common in business. You have an under-performing and/or toxic employee that you considered firing more times than you can count. Each coaching session, one-on-one or performance review is followed by some improvement that quickly degrades back to unacceptable. The employee does just enough to keep you from terminating them. FACT: The longer you continue to accept behavior and performance that is unacceptable — the more you enable that behavior and performance throughout your company. A weak link’s indifference ends when leadership stops tolerating it.
- How you lead can create employee indifference: Amazing cultures and teamwork don’t happen by accident. They are designed, inspired and nurtured by the leader. That’s why it’s a big red flag when owners say, “We need better consequences.” FACT: If you want to feed indifference and create more weak links in your chain, keep adding consequences for not doing things right. Keep on being a micromanager. Inclusion, appreciation, transparency and engagement are the anti-toxins for indifference.
- Your own indifference feeds indifference: This is a tough one for many reluctant owners and leaders to acknowledge and accept. Reluctant owners and leaders avoid the responsibilities and accountabilities that are essential to the leadership process. FACT: Many service provider owners would rather stay insanely busy working on clients than working on their business. Their business essentially runs on autopilot with minimal structure, systems or accountability. The end result is wide-spread indifference and a staff comprised of weak links. Owning a business means embracing leadership — not hiding from it.
- Build a better chain: The strength of an anchor chain must be matched to the ship it’s going protect and hold in place. In business, it’s the owner’s responsibility to build a chain capable of performing and delivering its brand promise to its customers. More importantly, the chain must be committed to achieving the company’s vision. FACT: Hiring talent because he or she has a clientele puts the need for money before the integrity of the chain. Too often we hear owners say, “It’s hard to find good employees.” Of course it is — if the process for on-boarding, training, developing and coaching new employees can only produce weak links. To build a better chain you need a better process.
Here’s my challenge to you: Take an unfiltered look at your company’s chain and count the weak links in terms of behavior and overall performance. Although it only takes one weak link for a chain to fail, the presence of multiple weak links increases the probability of failure.
The next challenge is to determine what role your leadership played in allowing the weak links in the first place. Recognizing your role in creating what you don’t like in your salon/spa business is the first critical step to getting out of your own way.
Lastly, consider what it’s going to take to build a chain capable of supporting your vision of creating a unique brand and profitable company.